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Making my 1961 Riviera syncro
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KrisBalfe
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:26 pm    Post subject: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Purchased this double door riviera out of California earlier this year and was planning on replacing belly pans, cargo floors and some other common rusted areas. Unfortunately the bus was much more of a basket case than Iíd been planning on.
So I started coming up with a game plan and purchased from a friend a shorty Ď57 with much of the metal that would be required to piece the bus back together, unfortunately Iíd still be required to patch in the missing frame sections from the shorty and was looking at going backwards as far as the torsion housing and transmission were concerned. So with that and some other problems in mind I scrapped hope of returning this bus to stockish. At this point it would have been more replacement metal than original which wasnít what I was looking for in a split this time around.
I left all those plans behind and decided to use the chassis of a late bay westy I have kicking around. Reasoning could have been misguided but I believed there were benefits to doing so... then I thought to myself, I am already doing something fairly stupid here may as well go for it and make this thing a syncro.
I have purchased the shell of an Ď87 syncro and will be starting down this path if there is any interest in this project Iíll put up the progress here.
Thanks, Kris
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sub-hatchtim
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Why not just build out the syncro? I'm a split and vanagon owner, the vanagon is a far superior vehicle driving and comfortable wise
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KrisBalfe
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Fair question, I thought for some time on doing exactly that, in the end I didnít see two better vehicles to attempt this with than a parted out syncro and rusted out camper... also Iíve always wanted an awd split camper.
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nineteensixtyfiveVG
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

consider me interested
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sub-hatchtim
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Yes an 4wd split would be rad but I have a feeling for all your efforts its not going to handle as well as a vanagon
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

One reason I'd pursue the split route is to avoid the smog-check nazis...and Utah goes back to '67...ouch.

I can't tell for certain, but it also looks like you may require the safety inspection based on the stipulation for vehicles that expired in 2017 (if that includes 2017 and earlier...I'm not clear on their 2018 legislation eliminating passenger vehicle inspections).
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Blue Baron
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:43 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Isn't the Vanagon wheelbase longer and the track a lot wider? You would either have to lengthen and widen the body, or shorten and narrow the chassis.

At any rate, let's see what you build.
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kermie
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:12 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Blue Baron wrote:
Isn't the Vanagon wheelbase longer and the track a lot wider?


Wheelbase of a Vanagon is 2.4" longer. The track is a little over 8" wider. So some adjustment is needed Laughing
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KrisBalfe
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

I hear you all, quality points.
The ace up my sleeve is that Iíve already done this to my bay window. The wider track is my biggest concern. I donít want to hack the wheel wells. It looks like Iíll need to remove 3Ē from the middle of the vanagon chassis to avoid doing so. The brake booster and pedal cluster will also have to be in the cab and I may have to put a bay window steering column in. Which would aesthetically speaking be the worst part for me, Iíd like to keep the split steering wheel.
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:32 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

I'm very interested. I've thought about how I would do this conversion in the past.

If I were to do it , I'd build out a custom front subframe or modify the syncro subframe up front. This would lift the bus quite a bit since there's not a lot of room under there for the front diff. I'd relocate a lot of stuff and run most of the syncro suspension components, modified or custom to fit the custom subframe.
This would likely require a complete solution for the rear suspension as well.

A few things work towards your advantage. The gas tank is in the right place and theres a lot of room in the engine bay for an adequate power train. The frame horns would have to come out for sure.

Its a cool concept. Keep us posted. I never went forward with it because vanagons and syncros are my favorite buses and I'd rather fix them up before parting them out.
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Bulli Klinik
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:22 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Widen the Split to fit the Vanagoon chassis. Just like they did with the Race Taxi Bus.

Sound like a cool project.
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vwuberalles
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:45 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Do it!
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cdennisg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

I am so in on this build. DO IT!
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mr white
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Some bits from a 85-87 Audi 4000cs Quattro may help you on your quest. Good luck!
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KrisBalfe
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

I haven't been able to get a real start on this yet.
Right when the donor syncro showed up, so did the snow.
Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It has been great for
Driving my other bus in.
Here is the meager start of the project. Should move a lot
Faster once work and snowfall slow down.

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That's as far as I've gotten besides stripping the syncro down.
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j.pickens
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

With the chassis that rusted, I like the suggestion to widen the whole bus. You could make it with three front windshields. Use a deluxe skylight sideways as the center window.
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KrisBalfe
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

I like your creativity, my goal though is to hopefully end up with a bus that looks like a split with a mild lift. The vanagon track isnít excessively wider than the split body, maybe 1.5Ē on each side. I left the vanagon chassis stock on my bay conversion and didnít even mess with the rear wheel wells, front I played with the idea of adding the vanagon dogleg flare. One side is done, the other isnít until I decide which way to go.
With the split though I donít want the wheels outside of the body so I will likely remove 3Ē from the T3 chassis.
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Spike0180
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

You may be able to make up the difference in width with wheel offset. Just a thought, it'd make getting CVs much simpler, and not mess with any of your geometry.
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KrisBalfe
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

That is worth some looking into.
I really want to keep stock wheels on this though. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this week and I can dig into it a little more
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:12 am    Post subject: Re: Making my 1961 Riviera syncro Reply with quote

Shocked

Another one? Has the welds even cooled off on the bay? Laughing This is going to be very cool indeed Cool Gona piss off some of the stock Nazis for sure Shame on you Dancing #Fist

I love it Kris - keep pluggin along. A lifted, syncro early split will be a nice treat to see. Especially with a nice retro wood camping interior. Wink

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